The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — are re-assembling to celebrate the 2010s. Today we move to the dark yet beautiful “Calm After The Storm” by The Common Linnets. The duo consisted of Waylon and Ilse DeLange who have both had dealings with the contest for The Netherlands since. Waylon performed solo in 2018, while Ilse was part of the team behind this year’s winner Duncan Laurence.
“Calm After the Storm” was a prime example of an unlikely success story. Nobody had the Netherlands down to even qualify, let alone come top ten, nor top three. Our own Wiwi Jury even had them ranked 30th out of 37 even, based on the studio version. But once the Linnets took to the stage in Copenhagen, a continent’s mind was changed for good.
Simple staging brought Ilse and Waylor together, facing each other whilst they sung of heartbreak and grieving a relationship. They looked into each other’s eyes as they sang the at times brutal lyrics. The chemistry was there and Europe was sold. The Common Linnets gave Conchita Wurst a real challenge to the title, eventually coming in second place. It was no minor feat considering the media attention on the eventual victor. Do the Wiwi jury still mop up tears after five years or are we yeehawing along with Waylon’s 2018 track “Outlaw In ‘Em” by now?
The Common Linnets – “Calm After the Storm”
“Calm After the Storm” reviews
William: Among the best-staged entries ever, “Calm After the Storm” is a masterclass in intimacy. The panning of the camera around the two singers, the eye contact, an LED that conveyed loneliness and isolation, the palpable sense of a story between the two singers — this type of performance can’t be bought but must be born. Those various elements came together to create something at once restrained but emotionally overwhelming. The studio cut still does nothing for me — a song built on this kind of emotional connection between two people must be experienced live. But on stage it was beautiful — three minutes that really took you somewhere.
Angus: Five years ago I thought it’d be a toilet break, as it happened I didn’t leave the room for the three minutes “Calm After the Storm” was on. This was an innovative performance in every sense of the world. It channelled real artistry, a quality song and a novel use of camerawork to really create a moment on stage. Conchita may have been the story of the night, but the chart success was all The Common Linnets.
Lucy: “Calm After the Storm” was not remotely on my radar pre-contest despite loving most things involving a guitar, but I — much like the majority of Europe — was shook when The Common Linnets took to the stage in the semi-final. The chemistry between Ilse DeLange and Waylon was exceptional and really brought viewers into the emotion and story of the song, making your heart break along with theirs. Despite this narrowly missing out on the Eurovision trophy, Ilse guided Duncan Laurence to victory in 2019, so I guess she ended up winning eventually, but what a great attempt this was in 2014.
Bernardo: I clearly remember the moment “Calm after the Storm” blew everyone out of the water, mostly because the best moments for us Eurofans is when we are proved wrong. Ilse and Waylon came out of nowhere with a superbly staged song with clear and intimate vocals that pulled you into a different dimension. In a sea of predictable and cliche entries, this stood out for its warmth and timeless quality. The fact it was entry with no intentions of winning was exactly the reason why it did so well.
Kristin: “Calm After the Storm” flew a little bit under the radar prior to the contest, just like Conchita did, but when it came to life on the stage in B&W Hallern, we all knew that something magical was about to happen. Suddenly, this beautiful and mild-mannered country ballad became a sensational show in all its simplicity. The staging, the way they reached the audience and the connection between Ilse and Waylon was a slam dunk. Eurovision 2014 saw an extremely strong top 3 results and it was difficult to choose between them, but twist my arm and “Calm After the Storm” would have to be my choice in the end. Conchita was indeed a worthy winner, but I would not have minded a Common Linnets win either. In my books, a few things are more satisfying than an emotional country ballad about a heartbreak and driving away from your problems. “Calm After the Storm” brought all that emotion in abundance and served it in a bulletproof Nashville style.
Julian: Calm After the Storm is a well-deserved second place. It is such an unobtrusive song and that is why me and probably almost whole Europe loved it. It wasn’t there to come out on top, battling against the other songs. They just stood on the stage, performed their song and had fun. And that’s why they had so much success.
In the Wiwi Jury we have 24 jurors but only have room for six reviews. The remaining scores are below:
We have removed the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. This is to remove outliers and potential bias. We have removed a low of 5.5 and a high of 10.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 7.91/10
What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!